The Da Vinci Scold

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So Opus Dei declares “OPIE DIE!!!”

I’ll never understand why people get whipped into such a lather over a piece of art, some words in a book or a couple of hours sequestered in a stadium-seating screening room. Terrorism. Famine. Plague. The Jimmy Fallon Pepsi Ad. All topics worthy of unquenched ire and thunderous debate. The Da Vinci Code – or The Official Novelization of National Treasure as I believe it’s subtitled – is hardly worth calling forth the Sword of Damocles.

It’s fiction people. It’s entertainment. It’s a couple of hours to pass the time snickering at Hanks’ hair or guys named Teabing. It’s a chance to see which role Ron Howard has shoehorn his baby bro Clint into this time (my money’s on Vitruvian Man.)

The way some people carry on, you’d think they’d mistaken this trivial pursuit for Scripture. Of course, I haven’t paged through a Bible in recent years so who knows, maybe someone has replaced the Book of Daniel with Brown’s novel. In that case – consider yourself blessed – two books for the price of one. Think of it like one of those Reader’s Digest twofers where they mash up two abridged novels into one volume. A personal fave of mine is The Complete Abridged Works of Emily Dickinson/Eight Mile – The Novelization.

So the movie opened last Friday in theaters worldwide. Religious organizations called for boycotts, theater protests and hunger strikes. (“Now remember, No Goobers or Raisinettes until Da Vinci dies.”)

Maybe I’m missing something here but isn’t Ron Howard’s film of The Da Vinci Code an adaptation of Dan Brown’s best selling 2003 novel of the same name? A novel that spent 158 weeks dominating the New York Times Best Seller list and is featured prominently in Barnes & Noble end caps alongside a whole litany of knock-off secret society thrillers (my fave: Sultry Knights – Templars in Tahiti.) So if this is that same worldwide blockbuster, why did the protestors wait until the film opened to launch their protest? How is it that I can leaf through Brown’s book and then journey a couple rows over to sneak a peak at Kama Kama Kama Kama Kama Chameleon: Sutra with Boy George in the Human Sexuality section, completely unimpeded?

Perhaps movie patrons are seen as second class – the steerage to the loftier literary persuasion. Book readers are granted that modicum of intelligence. If we can place nouns and verbs together in proper context and jibe to the author’s meaning then perhaps we are capable of free thought and able to (gasp!!!) come to our own conclusions about the work in question. But moviegoers, ahhh, the poor naïve simpletons. Well there’s a flock of blind sheep that desperately need a shepherd to steer them clear.

Here’s a plea to the protestors. Forget Da Vinci. You want to perform a public service? Next time you see me buying two tix to She’s the Man, slap my wrist and point me in the direction of Syriana.

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Comments now closed (7)

  • Well, clearly all that scolding worked very well for them, what with Da Vinci Code having the second-largest worldwide opening in history (following the Phantom Menace, which we all went to see opening weekend before we knew any better) and grossing $77 million domestically.

    I have a hunch X3 will suffer from blockbuster hangover from DVC. I predict the summer winner will be POTC2, with Superman Returns running a close second.

  • JFCC – You are spot on.

    I think the studios’ insistence on jump-starting the summer movie season by inching that line ever closer to the Spring Equinox is doing itself a disservice. You’ve got a traffic jam of large event pics crammed into one month and summer won’t begin for 29 days or so. By late June/early July – Poseidon, MI:3, DVC and X3 will be available OnDemand leaving a wide berth for Supes and Pirates of the Carribean to sail away with the booty. Plus – here’s a shocking revelation – late June/early July finds people out of school, on vacation and seeking to beat the heat. In early May, I’m too worked up about my petunias to care if Silas is an insult to the psycho albino monks of the world.

    My Top 5 (box office winners in domestic gross):
    1. Pirates of the Carribean 2 $312 million
    2. Superman Returns $245 million
    3. The Da Vinci Code $210 million
    4. X3: The Last Stand $180 million
    5. The Omen $160 million

    #5 is a dark horse candidate. Horror films typically make a killing and it largely has June by itself. I’ve read some advance reviews that say it will play well to those who haven’t seen the original – which is the target demo of 16 to 28. Plus it opens on my birthday – 6/6/06 – menaing for one year only I am Beelzebub’s Boy.

    Next year I go back to being just 2/3rds the devil.

  • The nice thing is I’m actually looking forward to most of the blockbusters this year, especially Superman and POTC2. Hammerhead-shark-guys rule.

  • Heh, heh… you wrote Potsie in a post about a Ron Howard movie. Did you realize that? Yeah, I know, lame…

    I’ll throw my hat into the ring and say Superman wins the Summer, but the Pirate movie is hard to argue against. Depp and Bloom will pull all the tweenie/teenie girls loaded with disposable income all Summer long.

    My feeling is X3 is going to disappoint when compared to Superman, but we’ll see.

    Oh, let’s not forget Cars is also due out. Don’t all Pixar flicks rake in the cash?

  • Advance buzz on X3 is that it’s surprisingly good, though more fan-oriented than the previous films. A friend of mine talked me into seeing a midnight showing tomorrow night, so I’ll throw something up on my blog Friday or Saturday.

    Speaking of surprisingly not-so-bad, the Ghost Rider trailer is out:
    http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/ghostrider/

    And yes, we completely forgot about Cars, which will probably do very well. I’d put it ahead of DVC on Ed’s list (for final numbers–DVC will drop fairly quickly, while Cars will have legs).